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Chapter 371 - Advent of the Heavenly Demon (1)

    Chapter 371 - Advent of the Heavenly Demon (1)

    The magnificent mountain, Hwang Mountain, had a height of 3,000 meters and was the barrier that surrounded the capital of the middle empire. There were many places which were difficult to ascend or descend due to the mountain, and the roads leading to the capital were fiercely guarded.

    An unidentified intruder would be killed on the spot. No matter how prestigious their standing, they wouldn't be able to avoid a serious punishment if they entered without permission from the imperial family.

    Theodore stepped foot on Hwang Mountain and made a ridiculing expression. '...The country looks like this.'

    The empty guard posts and remnants of scattered soldiers looked miserable. There were no bloodstains, and fighting didn't seem to have occurred. They had probably entered Geongun Castle under the imperial order. Lust needed more sacrifices than guards.

    Theodore broke down the closed door that had no guards and made a beckoning gesture. The present Theodore didn't need to speak any chants. The moment he decided to destroy it, this structure collapsed like a sand castle before waves.

    "Hmm, your hands are hot today. Did something bad happen to you?" Seimei, who accompanied him, came over with a strange expression. Theodore hadn't realized it, but his current method of using magic was a bit rougher. He belatedly noticed the difference and shook his head with a bitter smile. "It isn't a big deal. The final battle is approaching, so I'm probably just tense."

    "Is that so? From my point of view... No, I guess it is okay," Seimei tried to say something before shrugging it off. "You can handle it. This isn't a story for an old man who has already died."

    "What...?"

    "It is nothing. You will realize it yourself without having to listen to me. Let's focus on the problem we are facing right now."

    Theodore wanted to hear about it, but Seimei climbed the mountain like he didn't want to speak any more. Additionally, it was better not to know if it was a story that would disturb the upcoming conflict with Lust. So, Theodore shook off his curiosity. The two of them climbed to the top of Hwang Mountain and looked down at the scenery below them.

    "...There."

    "Yes, that is Geongun Castle."

    Theodore saw the capital of Geongun Castle for the first time and had to admire the fortress that was at the center of enemy forces. It couldn't be compared with Belfort, the capital of the Andras Empire. The labor and cost of the building process, as well as the defenses of the castle itself, couldn't be underestimated. It was a phenomenal building, as if all of human civilization over time had squeezed it out.

    "The castle's name of Heaven and Earth isn't just arrogance... It boasts a ridiculous function. This castle is the reason why I didn't choose an all-out war."

    Even Seimei, who could proudly claim to have been the strongest in the east at that time, had been limited to putting only one body inside the castle, and he had eventually fallen. Seimei's white eyebrows bent slightly as he looked at Geongun Castle which had caused his death.

    Then he pointed out his left index finger toward Geongun Castle. "Kagutsuchi, stab."

    There was no time for Theodore to stop him. The spell was already complete when Seimei spoke these two words. It was an attack magic that borrowed the divinity of fire. Simultaneously, a flaming giant appeared and threw a big sword all the way to Geongun Castle.

    Kwaaaaang!

    It had enormous speed and power. After leaving the giant's hands, the greatsword reached the castle and caused a massive explosion 15 meters away from the wall. That was an attack which could be felt from a few kilometers away. It was magic that would be found among the top of the 8th circle.

    "...Ward?"

    Even so, there wasn't a single bit of damage on the translucent barrier around the castle. Theodore's face stiffened as he saw the ward that was revealed the moment Seimei attacked. However, Seimei didn't look surprised that his attack was so easily nullified. The defense of this barrier greatly exceeded even the ultimate spells.

    "Dammit! How many people were killed to make this? At least 800 million, considering the inefficient structure..."

    "Seimei."

    Theodore stopped Seimei, who was muttering gibberish with anger, and looked at him for an explanation.

    Seimei closed his eyes before explaining with a cold expression, "As you know, the more complex the structure of the ward, the better the efficiency. If a barrier with a complexity of one can stop one force, a barrier with a complexity of 10 would be able to handle 10 or maybe 20. Do you understand up to here?"

    "Yes."

    "But if you follow this principle, it doesn't mean the barrier will become stronger indefinitely. The more complex formulas that are used, the more ways there are to break them. Therefore, a ward must inevitably find a compromise between these two elements. Increase efficiency or eliminate gaps? This doesn't change even in the ultimate state."

    It wasn't a perfect analogy, but it was similar to a mechanical device. The more complex the structure of the machinery, the greater the performance of the system. However, one empty space could lead to a fatal flaw. Focusing on the complexity wasn't necessarily the best thing for a ward. However, Seimei was disgusted by this ward. "Now, here is the question. What is the level of the ward surrounding the castle now?"

    "Isn't it at an excellent level?"

    "Perhaps. It isn't that much."

    The vague answer left Theodore confused. Seimei ground his teeth together. "The system is beginner level, with no basics. The efficiency isn't even at 1:1. It is a trash barrier that wouldn't even be taught to first-time shamans. That is the essence of the Geongun Castle ward."

    "B-But! The ultimate spell couldn't break through the defense of the ward. How can such a defense―"

    "It is simple. If the efficiency is low, just pour in energy. There are plenty of sacrifices on this land."

    "...!"

    After hearing those words, Theodore was able to see them-the transcendent defense power of Geongun Castle and the foundation of this force. He now understood the meaning of Seimei's previous words. 800 million-no, maybe more than that-was the number of people consumed to form and maintain this inefficient ward.

    "...The efficiency of the ward wasn't considered, and this method was just used to stop it from breaking?"

    "It is obvious but perfect. It is so stupid that I can't think of a way to attack. If you describe the ward as a wall, breaking it is like cracking open the bricks that make up the wall. Yet this ward is a piece of stone, not a wall. It can only be crushed with strength."

    The problem was that even that method was impossible. It was a stone made of 800 million or more lives.

    Imagine the case with Lairon. The legendary black magician, Jerem, had used all the people of Lairon as sacrifices to call Nídhöggur. It was only a partial force, but it was enough to call down a demon king that threatened the whole material world.

    Now, 30% of a continent was focused on one inefficient ward!

    'Goetia.'

    [Yes, Master.]

    Theodore calculated his maximum firepower and what would happen if they collided with the ward.

    'With the power of the Eight Jade Magatamas, I can create seven clones and use the ultimate magic. I can also invoke the fusion spell that borrows the power of the god-sword. Calculate the possibility of breaking through if I hit a single point.'

    [I understand.]

    The prohibited book Goetia was silent for a few seconds before coming up with an answer.

    [Less than 0.105% chance. It is impossible.]

    However, Theodore continued without stopping, 'Summoning Fafnir and maintain his Eraser for 10 seconds.'

    [0.312%, error range is 0.027%. It is impossible.]

    'Summon a top soul. Use one of Simon Magus' spells.'

    [0.289%, error range is 0.012%. It is impossible.]

    'The deification of Dmitra. Can she break down the ground that makes up the ward and weaken it?'

    [0.138%, error range is 0.02%. It is impossible. Additionally, Dmitra's deification can only be done in the Great Forest, so this situation is impossible.]

    Theodore clicked his tongue as he was reminded of this fact. Why hadn't he called Mitra the whole time he had been in the east?

    Now that the world tree had lost its vitality, Mitra was the one sustaining the Great Forest. Her deification was based on the faith of the elves, so she could only exercise the power of a god in the Great Forest. Outside of the Great Forest, she was just a powerful ancient elemental.

    "...It is impossible to break through the front."

    Seimei nodded with a bitter smile. "That's right. In my time, I could enter alone. But they seem to have learned a lesson from that. My mother, who has no interest in anything other than mating, seems to have used her brains."

    "Maybe the 'great monk' who will soon arrive can do something, but... I don't think there will be a breakthrough."

    "Tsk, can we only come this far?"

    The expression 'a pie in the sky' came to mind. The home where their enemy was plotting was right in front of them, yet there was no way to enter. However, Theodore shook his head and denied it. He was ready for this frustration. "It is too early to give up."

    "Hoh?" Seimei's eyes shone and he responded immediately, "It seems you still have a trick remaining. What are you thinking?"

    "It is a simple matter. If they want to buy time, then we can prepare something."

    "What are you going to prepare?"

    "A hunt."

    During the negotiations with Lust, Theodore prepared a trap that he knew couldn't be escaped from.

    The advent of a heavenly demon...

    He planned to drop that ghastly ceremony into hell.

    *     *     *

    After he went up to Hwang Mountain with Seimei, Theodore started to prepare an unknown work. There was nothing they could do as long as there was no way to destroy the ward around Geongun Castle. They reconstructed a vacant lot near Hwang Mountain, set up an empty place by digging at the ground in the wilderness, and installed something in the land.

    "Theodore, what is the point of this construction?" Suzuka asked him out of curiosity.

    However, Theodore didn't answer her question.

    There was a possibility that someone here might leak information, but more than anything, the enemy's capabilities were unknown. If they could read minds with just a look... It was clear that more than half the plans Theodore was preparing would be lost.

    "I am bored so I will help you."

    "I will also help. Don't damage the forest as much as possible."

    "...That elf there, did you say something to me?"

    Additionally, the colleagues that Theodore brought directly took the initiative to join Suzuka and Nobutsuna. The Japanese warriors didn't know the meaning of the labor but were forced to take part in the simple work. Several of them were qualified to be masters. Once such a labor force was mobilized, a part of the mountain was quickly changed to the form that Theodore desired.

    After seven days and nights of construction, he went to the next stage.

    "Masters, I want to have a talk with you."

    If a heavenly demon were born, then Theodore was the only one who would be able to confront him head-on.

    According to Gluttony, the heavenly demon wasn't a transcendent but was a monster that demonstrated combat power beyond transcendence. In another dimension, he would climb to be demon king and spread blood and nightmares all over. No matter how strong the people gathered here were, they wouldn't be able to endure more than a few seconds in front of him.

    Thus, Theodore prepared a few tricks.

    "Hah..."

    "T-That is possible?"

    "Wow, I pity that guy called the heavenly demon. If we do this, won't we be able to win?"

    "...If the prey is strong, it is the hunter's job to design a strategy. Okay, I will be the arrow in your snares."

    Each master received the description over hours and nodded in admiration or surprise at Theodore's words. If they couldn't do this, they would die anyway. Nobutsuna was obsessed with a 1:1 match and wasn't convinced, but he couldn't say anything against the strategy of the much stronger Theodore.

    A few days after that...

    As soon as the hands of the masters training diligently started moving at the right tempo, a guest found Theodore. He was an old man in a wheelchair, unable to walk. There were familiar faces on both sides of the old man, so Theodore easily guessed his identity. Taeryun and Taerang were escorting the old man on the left and right.

    "It is nice to meet you, Supreme Monk. I am sorry to greet you in this shabby place."

    According to what Theodore had learned, the supreme monk had lived for over 300 years.

    Once Theodore showed politeness according to seniority, the supreme monk laughed in an old voice, "Haha! You are as humble as these two children, Taeryun and Taerang, said. This old man has no regrets because I get to meet such a person of distinction."

    "Huh?"

    His tone sounded like he had been waiting for Theodore. Theodore was surprised by the meaningful tone and raised his head. Blue eyes and black eyes met each other silently. No, the silence was just Theodore's illusion. It was just like when time slowed to the extreme when he was concentrating.

    'What is this impression?'

    Why did he get the feeling that he had met this person before? Inside his puzzled brain, a flash of light glowed. If it had been a few more months, he would've missed it. Since there was a recent encounter, Theodore was able to recall the person at the source of this deja vu. "...You were also on the East Continent."

    The two monks blushed at Theodore's lack of honorifics.

    However, they were stopped by the supreme monk, who smiled and nodded. "It might be a bit different from your thoughts, but yes. Can I talk to you for a few minutes? I have something to say to you."
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